Key Locked in Car Party

The road trip back from Guatape was going so well. We had all learned to trust the Colombian driver, who veered into oncoming traffic to get around big trucks and used every sharp turn as a kind of centrifugal slingshot through the mountain roads.

And drinking laws! Very different here. No open container laws, so we have all been provided with cool Club Colombia beers, dripping condensation onto the floor mats. Feels illegal, feels wrong, but ultimately, it’s not that hard to get used to the new lifestyle. Beers for the long drive. Green jungle plants, hazy mountains, madcap driving. All is rolling along well.

Somebody has to go to the bathroom, so we stop at a gas station.

Back outside, and I hear some kind of commotion near the car.

Try the trunk! Try the trunk. I can see crossed fingers and clenched postures.

The trunk doesn’t open.

We’re locked out of the car on the side of the Colombian highway. The keys are gleaming in the ignition.

I plop right down on the curb. We almost made it, you know? We almost made it without a hitch. Makes me consider the nature of things in general, how they rarely go off without a hitch.

But it’s not so bad, because somebody’s cousin has already been called and he’s on the way.

Another passenger has paid for a six pack and two family size bag of chips from the gas station. And we crack into everything, tear into it, and practice acceptance while someone with a break-into-a-locked-car kit hurtles down those manic roads on a motorcycle.

I drain a Club Colombia and crack a second. Stuff some crunchy chips down. What else to do? Every door has been tried, then re-tried more on superstition than anything else.

The lock guy eventually rolls up on a motorcycle. Unzips a kit in a black nylon bag. Jams an inflatable wedge in the door and pumps air into it until the door is open. Pokes a rod with a grabbing loop on the end through the crack. Lassos the lock and pop! We’re open. And the driver rescues the keys from the ignition, and we pile in. On the move again.

Get my book Odd Jobs & After Hours in audio, hardcover, or paperback by clicking here. It’s about drifting down the east coast of the USA chasing one sketchy, so-called opportunity after another.

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